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i never knew what time it was

David Antin (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 186 pages
ISBN: 9780520243057
April 2005
$34.95, £28.00
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In this series of intricately related texts, internationally known poet, critic, and performance artist David Antin explores the experience of time—how it's felt, remembered, and recounted. These free-form talk pieces—sometimes called talk poems or simply talks—began as improvisations at museums, universities, and poetry centers where Antin was invited to come and think out loud. Serious and playful, they move rapidly from keen analysis to powerful storytelling to passages of pure comedy, as they range kaleidoscopically across Antin's experiences: in the New York City of his childhood and youth, the Eastern Europe of family and friends, and the New York and Southern California of his art and literary career. The author's analysis and abrasive comedy have been described as a mix of Lenny Bruce and Ludwig Wittgenstein, his commitment to verbal invention and narrative as a fusion of Mark Twain and Gertrude Stein. Taken together, these pieces provide a rich oral history of and critical context for the evolution of the California art scene from the 1960s onward.
by way of a preface

the theory and practice of postmodernism—a manifesto

california—the nervous camel

café europa

talking at blérancourt

the noise of time

i never knew what time it was

time on my hands

how wide is the frame

what happened to walter?

endangered nouns
David Antin is Professor Emeritus of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. Among his most recent books are A Conversation with David Antin (2002), what it means to be avant-garde (1993), and Selected Poems: 1963-1973 (1991).
“His fifth collection of talk poems, shows Antin still at the height of his powers.”—Ernest Larsen Boston Review
“By appealing to the dynamics of an improvisatory oral tradition dating back to Homer, he not only destabilizes the text but also revitalizes it. Situated between speech and writing, Antin’s talk poems never seek refuge in either form but revel in their contradiction and unpredictability (amiably disguised as digression). In correlating these two conditions--happy contradiction and mimetic unpredictability--Antin keeps the narrative vehicle in gear.”—Ernest Larsen Boston Review
“The casual juxtapositions--suburbia, a game board, Atlantis, Jack Benny--are extraordinary feats of associative and extemporaneous anti-logic that make Antin one of the more rewarding, intelligent, and funny poets out there.”—Raphael C. Allison Rain Taxi Review Of Books
“Provocative.”—Eilene Zimmerman San Diego Magazine
“Antin does a spellbinding sort of parenthetical sidetracking self-reflexiveness. . . . It is a nice book to walk through.”—Stride Magazine
"The poems in this volume are unforgettable. Richly funny, elegiac, philosophical, contentious, filled with astonishing stories and bizarre characters—some of the finest writing by today's most compelling poet."—Gerald Bruns, author of The Material of Poetry: Sketches for a Philosophical Poetics

"These talk poems bring the reader face to face with a great mind. I could hardly bring myself to put the book down."—Hannah Higgins, author of Fluxus Experience

"Just keep talking, like they say, and with luck and genius maybe you'll get to be like extraordinary David Antin. Not only was he there, wherever—which is a very large place indeed—but he can tell you just what happened. I must believe it's all in knowing how to listen."—Robert Creeley, author of If I Were Writing This

"For thirty years now, David Antin has been producing fascinating meditations that he calls ‘talk poems.’ Beginning in actual talk, they take their textual form from strenuous thinking about a given set of puzzles or problems, tackling "ideas" via narrative networks, as poignant and profound as they are hilarious. The situations are always taken from everyday life, but the mode is one of intense defamiliarization. In these, the most recent of his ruminations on time, space and human fallibility, Antin shows himself, once again, to be our truest philosopher-poet."—Marjorie Perloff, author of Wittgenstein’s Ladder

"David Antin has been one of our savviest cultural critics for over four decades. In i never knew what time it was Antin takes us on a voyage through his mind. Get on board for a lively and insightful trip."—Irving Sandler, art critic, historian, and author of A Sweeper-Up After Artists: A Memoir

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